Orioles withstand late Red Sox rally for the series sweep, 10-6
The Boston Red Sox rallied furiously for five runs against Joe Saunders in the ninth, but still fell short to the Orioles in a Wednesday afternoon getaway game as the Birds tallied ten runs in opposition.
Down 10-1 in the final frame of an otherwise embarrassing display, Daniel Nava knocked a two-run double off disheveled former starter Saunders, who had quickly loaded the bases. Third baseman Carlos Rivero, up from Pawtucket, then slammed a three-run homer for just his second Major League hit to pull the Red Sox within four.
It felt like 2013 again as rookie catcher Dan Butler grabbed an infield hit, the Sox nearly got another man on when Alejandro De Aza and David Lough collided on a Jemile Weeks fly ball, and Mookie Betts walked. The tying run got as far as the on-deck circle, when Xander Bogaerts grounded out to third to end the contest.
The real story was Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen (15-4), who carried a perfect game into the sixth: not all that surprising given Boston has been working on an LP’s worth of sour notes at the plate this summer. Chen nearly became the sixth pitcher to carry a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Sox when Butler doubled for his first Major League hit. Chen grabbed his 15th win of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.59.
De Aza, who nailed two homers in last night’s game, a two-run job and a solo shot, got the party started for the Birds in the third with an RBI single off Boston starter Brandon Workman (1-9), who completely ran out of steam. Adam Jones, who made history Tuesday…
…followed with a two-run double. The center fielder later came home on a bases-loaded walk, Caleb Joseph plated another run with a single, and Ryan Flaherty brought in another run with his second hit of the game for a 6-0 lead. And that was it for Workman.
Joseph smoked a two-run homer off Craig Breslow in the fifth, and in the ninth, old friend Kelly Johnson and Ryan Flaherty combined for back-to-back RBI doubles off Edward Mujica to cap the scoring for Baltimore with enough cushion to withstand a messy bottom of the ninth.
Flaherty was the offensive star for Baltimore with four hits. Jones and Joseph had three hits apiece.
Xander Bogaerts lined a first-pitch solo shot over the Monster in the seventh for his 11th home run of the season. The shortstop is 17-for-44 (.386) with three home runs and seven RBI in his last 11 games. Butler racked up three hits. The first two were doubles, inspiring this awesome bit of Rick Wrona minutiae before Butler singled in the ninth:
Clay Buchholz (7-9, 5.29) faces Liam Hendriks (1-1, 4.81) as the Red Sox take it on the road against the Royals Thursday night.